The South African made Joule plug-in electric vehicle, due to go into production in 2013, will be displayed at next week’s Geneva show and manufacturer Optimal Energy will soon put a small number of the vehicles on the road at home to gauge public response.

The cars are currently made at Optimal Energy’s facility in Port Elizabeth although a full production site has yet to be selected.

The Joule is said to have a 300km (200 miles) range and a five-Star NCAP safety rating. It is expected to sell from around SAR235,000(US$30,000).

It has a 36kWh lithium-ion battery powering a synchronous permanent magnet motor develping 65kW of power and 280Nm torque.

The car itself has been refined by Zagato’s Total Design Centre in Italy. Optimal Energy’s chief executive officer Kobus Meiring told South Africa’s Engineering News: “It is our vision to lead the EV industry in South Africa and to expand globally and, as a flexible company with no legacy investments in outdated technologies, we have the opportunity to position Joule uniquely in an awakening market.”